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Kentucky to the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl vs. No. 22 Clemson; Cats open as sizable underdog

After winning the Governor’s Cup, Kentucky will play in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl vs. the No. 22 Clemson Tigers.

Trophy. Governor’s Cup. Dylan Ballard - A Sea Of Blue

We have our first official spread via our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Clemson has opened as a 7.5-point favorite over Kentucky.

The only common opponent the two sides have is South Carolina. Kentucky lost 17-14 in Columbia, while Clemson won 16-7 just a week later in the same venue.

The over/under is 48.5. The moneylines are Kentucky +260 and Clemson -325.

As far as opt-outs go, Kentucky is already down Ray Davis, Jalen Geiger, and Andru Phillips, among others, while Clemson is without standout defender Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

Should be a good one.

The bowl destination has been selected.

With conference championship week concluded and teams now moving on to the postseason, the Kentucky Wildcats can now begin preparation for their bowl opponent.

Where is the BBN going to be heading?

How about the great city of Jacksonville once again?

That’s right, the Cats are headed to the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, where they have a date with the No. 22 Clemson Tigers.

The news was first reported by the Gator Bowl.

The 79th annual Gator Bowl is scheduled to kick off at 12:00 pm ET on December 29th and will air on ESPN at EverBank Stadium, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

Kentucky has been to the Gator Bowl twice under Mark Stoops, losing it to Georgia Tech in 2016 and winning it in 2020 over NC State.

This is the fourth time Kentucky has faced Clemson in a bowl game. The Cats and Tigers also faced off in the 1993 Peach Bowl won by Clemson, the 2006 Music City Bowl won by Kentucky, and the 2009 Music City Bowl won by Clemson.

Coming off a 7-5 regular season, the vibes around Lexington took a monumental shift after UK knocked off the Louisville Cardinals just over a week ago.

Now, with the chance to add another eight-win season to the books, it appears the team and fans are fully locked in for this matchup in Jacksonville. It does come with good news and bad news, however.

First, the bad. The Cats will be heading into this matchup without star running-back Ray Davis. After Davis declared for the draft in late November, the running back duties will now be handed over to Ramon Jefferson after fellow backup JuTahn McClain opted to transfer.

But that is followed by some good news, as Devin Leary is expected to play, giving the offense the much-needed continuity at the position after an up-and-down season.

This is now the eighth straight year that Mark Stoops has led his team to bowl eligibility, and he will be looking to get back on a winning streak after last year's disappointing loss to Iowa in the Music City Bowl.

Coming into the week, most projections had Kentucky landing in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, but that was before Florida State was left out of the College Football Playoff. That led to a chaotic Sunday for the ACC in getting its bowl matchups set, which is why there was about an hour delay between the announcement of the Cats making the Gator Bowl and who their opponent would be.

Be sure to check back here later for official game odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.